BWW Review: CABARET at Broward Center For The Performing Arts
Back in my depravity days, chewing gum and smoking cigarettes, Kander and Ebb's musical CABARET was the light that shone on Berlin in 1929 and '30. Desperate people and desperate dreams. Night life, bed sitter life and the Nazis. And music once heard never forgotten. There followed, and I'm guessing here, approximately 847,329 productions world wide.
And then New York's Roundabout Theatre Company, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, took CABARET to a new level in 1998 with Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's Tony award winning production, playing now through January 22 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Sex, in just about every possible position, combination and outcome, is the star. From the opening Willkommen through the white walled Finale there's a sensuality that permeates every scene.
The staging is, well, brilliant. Scene changes are seamless, the lighting paints every picture and the music from the Kit Kat band, played by eighteen actors from the cast is a revelation; their Entr' Acte a message from the gods. The choreography? Slick, funny and tastefully lewd.
The plot, of course, is boy meets girl. Sub plot, old folks try for happiness. Reality strides in.
Randy Harrison is an adorably depraved Emcee. He'll touch your heart.
And Benjamin Eakeley brings a seldom seen strength to the role of Cliff, the American tyro writer who travels to Berlin and meets everybody's nemesis, Sally. She's the Kit Kat headliner, a 19 year old somewhat wiltEd English Rose. She's played by Andrea Goss who shows her powerful voice in her big number, Cabaret. Would that she'd use that voice in her dialogue. Mumble seems the current setting.
The December/December couple, Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, Mary Gordon Murray and Scott Robertson, provide the just right dose of schmaltz and Alison Ewing certainly deserves mention as aging Kit Kat girl Fritzie and sailor ridden Fraulein Kost. A fast girl in more ways than one.
Patrick Vaill brings many levels as the rigidly sly Nazi, Ernst Ludwig, not least of which is his ability to enable sympathy for an unsavory character.
BT McNicholl directed this touring production and he's not only mounted one of the smoothest, imaginatively dynamic musicals, he's presented a multi talented cast that enhances every minute of every scene.
CABARET plays through January 22 at the Broward Center, 201 SW 5th Avenue, Ft Lauderdale. 844-854-1450. http://centerfortlauderdale.com/index.php